Tanya's class isn't a typical childbirth class that you suffer through a few times to learn some breathing exercises and find out which hospital entrance to use when in labor. It is a community of diverse, yet like-minded, couples and Tanya is a charismatic, witty and passionate teacher who infuses humor, inspiration and storytelling into her lessons. She becomes personally invested in her students and their birth and postpartum goals and uses her extensive knowledge and her connections within the birth community to help couples find the best care providers to meet these goals.
Witnessing someone who is doing her true calling in life is a rare privilege, and we are grateful to have met Tanya, as well as the other students in her class (who we now call friends).
Her class is above and beyond what you'd expect from a childbirth class. We are so glad to have taken it and were genuinely sad when it was over. Thanks, Tanya. Without this class and the supportive community you've created, our birth and our experience as new parents would not have been the same."
-Susannah and Eric
Manhattan Birth is Featured in "Seen in NY"
From The SEEN IN NEW YORK feature in the New Learning Times:
Manhattan Birth's 8-week childbirth preparation classes draw expecting couples from the 5 boroughs and beyond to the airy Upper West Side loft of founder Tanya Wills. Each week, twelve pregnant people and their supportive partners gather in this intimate setting to learn the anatomy of childbirth, labor-coping techniques, how to navigate medical interventions, and how to prepare practically and emotionally for their new role as parents.
A Yale-trained Certified Nurse Midwife, Tanya was inspired by her own transformative birth experience to educate parents-to-be in the realities of labor and newborn care. Manhattan Birth's instructors are perinatal professionals dedicated to speaking honestly and candidly about "what birth really is, and how birth really works." What do contractions feel like? Is your previous life really over when you have a baby? Students can talk openly about these kinds of questions while gaining hands-on experience with plush models of breasts, babies, and placentas. Partners practice special massage, acupressure, and relaxation techniques together and engage in frank discussions about how to prepare for the unpredictability of birth. Over the 8 weeks of class, couples not only master practical knowledge of childbirth but also deepen their connection and gain the confidence to fully support each other for what may be the most extraordinary and challenging experience of their lives."
Music: Miei by Broke for Free
Yael Borensztein, Instructor
Childbirth Weekend Intensive
Yael Borensztein is a birth doula, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, home birth assistant and experienced postnatal Registered Nurse serving New York City. She is dedicated to educating and nurturing families with a sense of empowerment and strength throughout their pregnancies and births.
Yael feels strongly that it doesn't matter where or how you have your baby, as long as you are informed, confident, and supported in your choices. With her diverse experience as a home birth assistant and as an RN in a local hospital, she has become extremely comfortable with and passionate about supporting pregnant people and their families through the entire spectrum of labor, birth and postpartum in every setting. Yael is so excited to be here on the team at Manhattan Birth!
Jenna Bourgeois, Instructor
Childbirth, New Moms Support Groups, Infant/Toddler CPR
Jenna was a starving actor when she met a real-life midwife at a party in 2007, shocking her into the reality that midwifery still exists! What began as a curiosity has blossomed into a vocation and a deep passion for the miracle of birth and the simultaneous power and vulnerability of a pregnant and laboring person.
Jenna completed her initial doula training through DONA International with Debra Pascali-Bonaro in 2012 and then in 2013 went on to become a Certified Holistic Doula with Whapio Diane Bartlett through The Matrona. This further training reaffirmed her belief in the human instinctual knowledge of how to birth and deepened her understanding of how best to accompany a laboring person without disturbing their process.
An aspiring midwife, Jenna went to Bali in 2014 for an Introduction to Midwifery course through The Birth Institute where she lived and worked in a gentle birth clinic alongside local midwives. She also had the remarkable privilege of meeting Robin Lim and witnessing the beautiful care that is given at Bumi Sehat.
In order to help her clients achieve their infant feeding goals, in 2015 she became a Certified Breastfeeding Counselor with Lea Rivera Todaro of Mami Mia. Seeing first hand the impact of optimal fetal positioning on a smooth vaginal birth, Jenna also trained with Tammy Ryan of Spinning Babies to be able to better serve people in the process of giving birth.
Jenna lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with her husband and son and is so very grateful to be surrounded by a truly special community of fantastic friends and family.
Amy Goldstein, Instructor
Childbirth Weekend Intensive
Amy Goldstein's passion and deep rooted belief in pregnancy and labor as a natural part of a woman’s life cycle began with her first pregnancy in 2010. With the desire help other families achieve the same type of individualized, evidence based care that she received, Amy did her initial doula training through DONA International with Debra Pascali-Bonaro in 2012. Keenly aware of the importance of helping the baby into a proper position during pregnancy and labor, Amy pursued additional training with Gail Tully of Spinning Babies.
Since 2013, Amy's professional development has been greatly enriched by her involvement with a group of aspiring midwives working under the skilled guidance of her own midwife, Kimm Sun. With a desire to help families achieve their breastfeeding goals, Amy received her Breastfeeding Counselor certification through Mami Mia and she is currently mentoring under Lea Rivera Todaro of Mami Mia as an IBCLC candidate. In 2014, Amy became a certified instructor through the American Heart Association in Basic Life Support, AED (defibrillator), Infant, Child and Adult CPR.
Amy lives in New Haven, CT with her husband, son and daughter where she is pursuing her Master of Science in Nursing in the midwifery program at Yale School of Nursing and certification as a nurse-midwife.
"I have fallen in love again and again with providing compassionate, non-judgmental, evidence-based care to hundreds of families. I strongly believe that all laboring women deserve a nurturing experience when they are at their most vulnerable, yet their strongest selves."
Sarah Lovell, Instructor
Comprehensive Childbirth Prep, Infant/Toddler CPR
Sarah Lovell is an experienced doula who came to this work with a background in holistic health. Having managed natural health clinics since 2005, Sarah passionately believes in the body’s innate abilities and loves empowering others to have the same faith in themselves.
Beyond doula training, she has completed additional courses in breastfeeding support, Acupressure for Pregnancy, Labor & Postpartum as well as Childbirth Education. "Teaching the Comprehensive Childbirth Class has been one of the most rewarding additions to my birth work as I get to reach so many families with evidence based information (and a touch of humor) and watch them go on to have beautiful, empowering experiences."
A bit of a wandering spirit, Sarah is from Maine but has lived in Boston, Denmark and Vancouver, Canada before arriving in Inwood.
"Our society bombards us with such negative images of birth, it has been such a blessing for me to be able to tell someone, 'I know you can do this.' and see them do something they never thought they could."
Yiska Obadia-Gedal, Instructor
Comprehensive Childbirth Prep
Yiska Obadia-Gedal is a NY State licensed acupuncturist, prenatal and therapeutic massage therapist and birth doula. As a massage therapist since 1995 and friend, she attended her first birth in 2001. Awed by the power and beauty of that experience, she attended a doula training program to learn more about the ways she could support mothers and families in the birth process.
Bringing together her various skill sets has been an integrative experience, enabling Yiska to serve her clients in a variety of ways, inside and outside of birth. Most recently she has been teaching other doulas and partners how to provide the kind of comforting touch she uses during birth to make birthing women feel most deeply supported and soothed.
Yiska has a home office and lives on the Upper West Side with her husband. She is an advocate for self-care and doing whatever it takes to have the support we need. The seeming paradox of birth is one of being simultaneously powerful and vulnerable. It is this special combination of both needing support and being infinitely strong and capable that Yiska finds especially inspiring about birth.
She feels honored to do this work and is so grateful to be a part of the Manhattan Birth community.
Erica St. Lawrence, Instructor
Childbirth, Newborn Care, CPR
Erica St. Lawrence is an experienced birth and postpartum doula, a Certified Breastfeeding Counselor and a pediatric R.N. who has spent the last 10 years caring for hundreds of NYC families both in the hospital and at home.
Erica loves working with families at all stages, giving parents the knowledge, peace of mind and support to birth and nurture their babies with confidence. With her practical, non-judgemental, evidence-based and warm-hearted approach, Erica is passionate about helping you welcome your child into your life and easing your transition into parenthood.
Tanya Wills, Founder
Tanya Wills is a graduate of the midwifery program at Yale School of Nursing, where she received her Master of Science in Nursing and also earned her R.N. (Registered Nurse).
A former actress, Tanya was drawn to this work after the powerful birth of her son, Milo, in 2008. She completed her initial birth and postpartum doula training with Debra Pascali-Bonaro through DONA, International. She went on to complete her holistic doula training with Whapio Diane Bartlett through The Matrona deepening her capacity to nurture and connect with couples and their babies while reaffirming her belief in the human instinctual knowledge of how to birth.
Tanya obtained her Certified Lactation Counselor credential in 2010 through Healthy Children's Center for Breastfeeding enabling her to provide evidence-based lactation support and received additional training while at Yale with Julie Bouchet-Horwitz at Hudson Valley Breastfeeding as an IBCLC candidate. She trained as a midwife's assistant with Ina May Gaskin and other midwives at The Farm.
Tanya completed the Sacred Birth Mentor Program in 2014 with Stephanie Dawn as her mentor, earning her certification as a Sacred Birth Counselor. With a background in theatre, she brings warmth and a sense of humor to her classes and clients. Now a mother of two, Tanya balances her time working with pregnant folks and their partners with her own midwifery and lactation work, teaching, and learning from people who are in the process of giving birth. "I feel so privileged to be doing this important work."
Tanya practices as a home birth midwife and also provides annual gyn care, primary care, and lactation consultations through Manhattan Birth Midwifery.